The first months and years of your child’s life are very important for developing language. Undetected hearing loss is one of the causes of delayed language development. Delayed language can lead to behavioural, cognitive and emotional problems.

Children who are deaf or hard of hearing have a better chance of developing effective language skills when hearing loss is identified early and they receive the support they need.

Services Offered

Parents living in the Toronto area are offered free hearing screening for their newborn before they leave the hospital. A number of Infant Hearing Screening Clinics are available for those children who were not screened and for those who need a follow-up appointment.

During COVID-19, infant hearing screening services were temporarily suspended. As of June 9th, 2020, infant hearing screening has resumed at all of our partnered hospitals:

  • Humber River Hospital
  • Scarborough Health Network
  • Michael Garron Hospital
  • Mount Sinai Hospital
  • North York General Hospital
  • Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
  • Unity Health Toronto – St. Mike’s
  • William Osler Health System – Etobicoke General Hospital

Infant hearing screening services have also resumed at three community clinic locations (by appointment only).

Children identified as deaf or hard of hearing may also receive audiology services at various Infant Hearing Program Audiology Clinics across the City of Toronto.  These services include:

  • Hearing tests
    Hearing tests are done if your child receives a refer result on the newborn hearing screening. An Infant Hearing Program audiologist will assess your child’s hearing.
  • Hearing technology fitting and management
    An Infant Hearing Program audiologist will select and fit the hearing technology that will best meet your child’s needs.

Family Support Workers offer:

  • counselling, support and general information about community agencies
  • information about the different communication options available for a child who is deaf or hard of hearing
  • referrals to community programs as needed

The Infant Hearing Program may also provide family-centred services that include:

  • an assessment of your child’s communication development
  • professional guidance to help develop your child’s language skills
  • parent education

Who Can Receive These Services?

For Hearing Screening Services

  • live in the City of Toronto (postal codes starting with “M” only)
  • fall into one of the following categories:
    • birth – two months of age
      Eligible to receive newborn hearing screening
    • two – 24 months of age
      Eligible if the child has a risk factor associated with a permanent hearing loss
    • 24 months – six years
      Eligible if a permanent hearing loss has been identified

For Audiology Services or Communication Development Service

  • live in the City of Toronto (postal codes starting with “M” only)
  • be between birth and six years of age
  • have a permanent hearing loss